WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump said Friday that strong new jobs numbers marked a “great day” for George Floyd, the man whose killing last week sparked violent nationwide protests over police brutality against African Americans.
Eleven days after Floyd’s death while handcuffed in the custody of Minneapolis police, Trump said such violence can’t be allowed to happen.
Nevertheless, he said, “Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing for our country.”
“There’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody,” he said.
Trump was apparently referring to a surge in employment.
The Labor Department reported the country gained 2.5 million jobs in May and the unemployment rate dropped to 13.3 percent after extremely high job losses the previous months due to the coronavirus.
Trump claimed his administration has done more for African Americans than previous presidents, including lowering the unemployment rate for them. Friday’s jobs report said, however, that unemployment for blacks rose slightly to 16.8 percent.
“This is a great, great day in terms of equality,” he said.
Joe Biden, Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in the November election, immediately lashed out at Trump for invoking Floyd’s name, calling it “despicable.”
“George Floyd’s last words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ have echoed across our nation and around the world,” Biden tweeted.
“For the President to try to put any other words in his mouth is frankly despicable.”